Stay Out of the Basement by R. L. Stine is the second novel in the original Goosebumps line, and a far better story than the Welcome to the Dead House, the first original Goosebumps. As kids we’ve all been told to stay out of something, mostly for our own safety. I this story it’s for safety and secrets. This novel goes into the real world problems of dad losing his job and then setting out to prove his employers wrong. He becomes distant and stressed and in an R. L. Stine twist otherworldly. As an adult reading this for my nephews I can really appreciate the real life scenarios he subtly put into his stories.
The Plot: Margret and Casey two siblings, are dealing with a new life situation, their dad losing his job at a science laboratory. Their dad has became distant, stressed, and made a makeshift lab in the homes basement.There not supposed to disturb their dad when he’s working and all but banned from the basement. When Margret’s friend Diane who’s a little bit rebellious, dares them to go to the basement while their dad has to bring their mother to the airport to deal with a sick aunt. They reluctantly go and the basement is like nothing they’ve seen before, it’s hot, humid, and muggy with plants covering every inch but the stairs. The plants are like nothing you’ve ever seen before, they seem to reach out for the kids and moan, before they can investigate further their dad come home. Margret and Diane scramble up the stairs but Casey is stuck with a plant wrapping around him not in a threatening but still traps him. Diane leaves out the back as Margret quickly rescues her brother, but get busted on the stairs my their dad who’s very upset, his hat flies off and reveals instead of hair he’s growing leaves. He says it’s a side effect to something they won’t understand and puts an additional lock on the basement door telling them to stay out, but like typical kids they do not. What will happen when they do not stay out of the basement?
What I Liked: The twist are really good, there’s some really clever misdirects, that make sense when all is revealed but really clever writing. I had even seen the episode about three years ago as I introduced the show to cousins and could not remember all the twist and turns. This story is supper creepy plants moaning and forming mouths. The real life scenario of a father losing a job and going a little nuts to prove ex-employers wrong is too real. The story brought me back to the childhood fears of going own into a dark staircase to the basement. Every scene and chapter has a purpose. I have a fear of food and the scene in this story really got to me.
What I Disliked: Money was never discussed with losing a job, I thought it could have been a little more relatable to real life scenario. I did think it’s funny as the story escalates and gets crazier the dad is still neighborly and helps the neighbors with things, so I thought he could’ve got out of the house for something other than that, like buying mulch of other plant food.
Recommendations: I love Goosebumps and this is one of the better stories in the series as far as twist go. This story is made ever so scary adding the real life scenario. I rated this 5 out of 5 stars, I was on the fence debating between 4 and 5 but the twist is really good and well thought out, this one could almost fit in the Twilight Zone with not too many changes. I plan to keep reading Goosebumps and reviewing them their so fun and a good break for the headier stuff I read sometimes.